Club 1570 – Later 16th Century Side Sword

Club 1570 is a project which looks at the fencing styles of late 16th century Europe. The name reflects the many fencing masters who published significant works within a few years of each other around this date including Jeronimo Caranza, Joachim Meyer, Giovanni Dall’Agocchie, and Henri de Sainct Dider.

On these pages, you will find information and notes about these authors and their works and my explorations of putting the side sword techniques they wrote about into practice.

The 16th century was a time of change and transition from an older, more medieval style of swordplay to a more modern fencing tradition. The sword was rapidly losing its place as a battlefield weapon but was still the symbol of nobility. Simple effectiveness was giving way a developing science and art of swordplay. Swords themselves were changing from primarily cutting weapons (arming sword) to thrusting weapons (rapier) and the second half of the century represents the high point of the so called “cut and thrust” style of fencing which emphasised not the edge not the point of the sword but relied on both. It was the glory days of the side sword.

There will also be some excursions into side projects which may cast a light on the core displine of the cut-and-thrust side sword.

[We’re starting off small but check back regularly as new content will be added regularly.]

Joachim Meyer

Meyer was a culter and taught fencing in Strassburg. His Art of Fencing, published in 1570, was produced at great cost because of the lavish illustrations and covers contemporary longsword, dusack, rapier, dagger and polearm combat. He died in 1571.

If you want to know a little more about the man, I interviewed him some time ago.

Meyer’s Rapier System

I’ve put together a set of notes on the side sword (rapier) chapter of Meyer’s book in order to understand exactly what he was teaching. At some future date, I’ll develop a curriculum from these notes.

Here’s some link to posts on my blog which deal directly with Meyer’s side sword and rapier technique.

Henri de Sainct Didier

Sainct Didier was a Provencal gentleman and soldier fighting most of his career in Piedmont, Italy under Francois II of France (although his text is dedicated to Charles IX, Francois’ son). His surviving work, The Secrets of the Sword Alone (1573), won him royal patronage and he produced a number of other works now lost to us on fencing and deeds of arms.

Here’s my notes of the sidesword lessons he outlines in his text.

I’ve also started my own translation of his book from French into English. This is a slow process.

Below is a list of other posts regard Sainct Didier and his lesson plans.